Welcome to a BIG week for us in the Shine quilt sew along! After two weeks of leisurely picking fabric, now we finally jump into cutting and sewing blocks. But don't be alarmed at the uptick in our pace, my lovely Sunshine Crew! These blocks sew together surprisingly fast. The lack of accuracy required helps. 😉
Not only does the pattern include a step-by-step video tutorial, I also have some added tips in this post to help you on your cutting and sewing journey.
Shine Sew Along Quick Recap
If you are just hearing about this sew along for the first time, welcome and you're not too late! Here is the official post with all of the details you need to know about participating. You are free to join in any time, especially in the beginning when we haven't really done much and it's easy to catch up.
Shine is the third design in this 2020 series. If you missed our previous sew alongs, check out all of the posts from Grow and Thrive in the Sew Along tab. There's no official sign-up for this sew along because I want you to be able to come and go as it fits into your schedule. It's also because these sew along blog posts will live forever here on the SQ blog in the Sew Along tab.
If at any point you have questions that need immediate answers, I highly recommend joining the Suzy Quilts Patterns Facebook group and asking your question to the group. I will also have LIVE videos on Instagram and in the SQ Patterns Facebook group every Thursday night at 7:30pm central.
Sew Along Schedule
- Week 1, September 23: Pick fabric, gather supplies and choose your pattern layout (if different from the original); Sponsor: Sewing Arts Center
- Week 2, September 30: Extra time gathering fabric and cut background fabric; Sponsor: Cottoneer Fabrics
- Week 3, October 7: Cut and sew 4 blocks; Sponsors: Needle and Grain and Jillian Kate
- Week 4, October 14: Cut and sew 4 blocks; Sponsor: DuckaDilly
- Week 5, October 21: Cut and sew 4 blocks; Sponsors: Lavender Fields and Finch Knitting & Sewing Studio
- Week 6, October 28: Cut and sew 4 blocks; Sponsor: Fabricworm
- Week 7, November 4: Assemble the quilt top; Sponsor: Fabric Stork
Shine Sew Along Week 3 Tasks
Cutting, sewing and pressing may sound like a lot for one week, but the way these blocks come together, I have found it's easiest to make them in batches of four, rather than working through each stage separately.
As I type that I'm smiling to myself because with my scrappy Shine quilt I've already deviated from my own instructions...
I did all of my cutting already! I did this because to make a scrappy Shine quilt I'm going to mix all of my fabric together before making any blocks. If you're making a scrappy version just like me, this week, instead of making four blocks from start to finish, go ahead and cut out all of your fabric.
If you have time to sew some blocks too, great! If not, no worries. You can catch up later and make more blocks in future weeks. You'll have the time since you won't need to do any cutting.
Shine Block Tips!
Tips! Tips! Who's ready for tips?!
Tip #1: Starch your fabric before you cut.
This should be easy to do since most of you are working with fat quarters that aren't prewashed. Simply unfold your FQs, spray some starch all over them, then iron them flat. Now put your starch away. Easy peasy.
For a list of my fabric, check out the Week 1 post!
Tip #2: Chain piece your strips and don't worry about pinning.
Yes, you read that correctly. More often than you care to read I'm saying things like, "sew slowly to remain accurate," and "pinning prevents puckers!" Crew, I'm not saying that today! Go hog wild! Chain as many strips at once as you can and don't worry about getting your pins out. Just go for it!
Tip #3: Use your tailor's clapper when pressing.
You knew I was going to say it so stop rolling your eyes at me! I won't go into more details here, but here's some extra reading just in case you need it – 8 Things You Never Knew About the Tailor’s Clapper.
If you are using steam and a tailor's clapper and still experiencing some waviness in your seams, a couple things could be happening:
- You are a crazed speed demon and actually do need to slow down. Each sewing machine is different and getting the right stitch speed and foot pressure can be a delicate dance. If your seams are incredibly wavy, one of those two things may need to give. So either lighten up the pressure on your presser foot or slow down your sewing a bit.
- Use a little less steam. Drenching your fabric in hot water/steam can cause the fabric to shrink and look wavy. Try using slightly less steam and see if that fixes the problem. If your units continue to wave at you, you may also want to try continuing to sew them together into a full block, and give them a dry press with the iron once the block is complete. After the final press, trim the block. Hopefully they look less wavy now!
Tip #4: Count your sewn units.
It's really easy to chain and chain and chain piece the day away and then realize that you have an odd number of sewn units and need to rip some apart. To prevent that from happening, take a look at page 4 of the pattern. In Step 2, Fig. 5, you can shut off your brain and chain away. Every strip needs to get sewn to another strip.
In Step 3, Fig. 6, however, you need to remember to set aside one sewn unit from Step 2. So at the end of your second round of chaining, for each block you should have 2 units of 4 strips and 1 unit of 2 strips. It's really clear in Fig. 6 if that's not making sense.
Tip #5: Make cutting adjustments as needed.
The keyword in the Shine pattern is improv. There are no hard and fast cutting dimensions so if you cut and sew these first 4 blocks and decide you'd like your strips thinner or thicker, wonkier or less wonky, make those adjustments for next time!
Making these blocks in batches of 4 is a great way to learn and change your mind as you make this quilt pattern.
The Week 3 Sponsors & Prizes
This week I have curated what I am calling the Spa Package. (ooh la la!) Since we are trying so many new things during this sew along, I want to counter any stress you might have with a beautiful and relaxing prize package from two different companies.
Our first company is Needle and Grain, a home goods business steeped in family tradition with contemporary design. This beautiful shop is owned and curated by married couple, Susan and Bryson. Susan is also an avid quilter and pattern tester for me!
Needle and Grain is generously giving away:
- Bath bomb in Seaweed and Salt
- Body Butter in Seaweed and Salt
- Peppermint Lip Balm
- County Fair Candle
Now that you're all clean and lotioned up, it's time to put on your favorite pair of leggings from our next sponsor, Jillian Kate! Jillian Kate is giving away a luxurious pair of NUX leggings.
What was founded in friendship has led to a wonderful partnership of curated athleisure clothing and accessories. Additionally, this boutique donates 10% of profits to a charity the owners are passionate about. The current organization (now until the end of the year) is Lizzy’s Walk of Faith Foundation which raises money for pediatric cancer research.
Use coupon code SUZY25 for 25% off your order! This coupon is not valid with other offers and expires on October 31, 2020.
How to Win
- Post a pic to Instagram. The photo prompt for Instagram this week is to post a picture of your Shine quilt progress. Use #ShineQuiltSA in the caption.
- You must have a public Instagram profile to participate.
- Each photo posted is an entry and you can enter as many times as you want in a single week. Once the week is over, those posts do not count in the next week's giveaway. Every week we start fresh.
- Your photo must be posted between 12:00 a.m. CT on Wednesday, October 7, 2020 and 1:00 p.m. CT on Tuesday, October 13, 2020.
- This prize is not open internationally. Only residents with postal addresses in the USA can win.
- The winner will be picked randomly from all qualifying posts and announced at approximately 4:00 p.m. CT on Tuesday, October 13, 2020.
7 thoughts on “Shine Quilt Sew Along: Week 3: Make Blocks”
Good morning, I am excited to begin this quilt along. I have never participated in any sew along before, I am a newbie! Looking forward to the process. Have a super day.
No Instagram account, unfortunately cannot participate in the weekly draws.
I think the pressure from my presser foot is too high or my feed dogs are too aggressive, however, my only options for feed dogs is on or off. There are no adjustments to be made that I can tell with the presser foot or feed dogs. Am I missing something? I’ve looked through my manual many times.
You’re right about the feed dogs. There is only up or down. However, when it comes to the pressure on your presser foot, I would think you could adjust that. What kind of machine do you have?
I have a Janome DC5100. I don’t sew particularly fast; the machine has a speed throttle which I use quite a lot as I am a relatively new quilter (6 finished quilts, still learning loads). If you have any suggestions, I am all ears. It’s also difficult quilting without ripples without stretching both the quilt top and bottom, pins out the wazzoo (I slow down even more for this), and walking foot on everything.
Hey Jen, I’m sorry to hear you’re having tension issues when quilting. That is incredibly frustrating. Since you’re doing everything right – pinning a lot, using a walking foot, and sewing slowly, the next thing I would try is alleviating the weight of the quilt as it travels through your machine. Search “Janome extension table” to find options for making your workspace larger. I also recommend quilting on a large table so the quilt can rest on a table and not hang off an edge – creating weight and adding pull on the fabric. One more option is to look in your manual (this can be found online too) and figure out how to lessen the pressure of your walking foot. It’s possible that all you need to do is lift it a millimeter to lessen the drag and the tension issue will get way better.
This is very confusing. Are there clear instructions somewhere with out all the extra stuff?
Hi Darcy! This blog post is part of the Shine quilt sew along, which was done to provide extra tips to enhance the Shine quilt pattern. If you’d like the pattern, you can find it and all our other patterns in our shop! Here’s a link directly to the Shine pattern: https://suzyquilts.com/shop/shine-quilt-pattern-download/